WhatsApp is the most popular instant messaging app, with over 2 billion monthly active users worldwide.
Due to its tremendous popularity and ease of use, it has become a great deal for businesses to connect with their customers using WhatsApp.
The WhatsApp Business API is an interface that can be used to send or receive text messages programmatically and at a large scale. Large-scale businesses use it to reach their customers and increase engagement.
Service providers like Twilio can build a service on top of the WhatsApp Business API so that businesses can use the API without any technical hassle.
How Does It Benefit Businesses to Elevate Sales?
Businesses use WhatsApp to engage with existing or potential customers. But why? With almost everyone using WhatsApp to communicate with friends and family, connecting with customers on their already familiar platform is a boon for businesses.
Another key factor is convenience. Customers no longer need to go to a local store to resolve their queries; they can do so by sitting on the couch and interacting with a chatbot provided by the business on WhatsApp itself.
Also, a user can chat with multiple businesses at the same time on WhatsApp. In other words, WhatsApp provides a platform for businesses to connect with their customers seamlessly.
Businesses can leverage quick responses, sending files, interactive messages, showcasing products and services, and many more features through the API.
WhatsApp Business App vs. API
They both are subtly different. The WhatsApp Business App is a non-programmable solution for small businesses to communicate with their customers manually. On the other hand, the WhatsApp Business API (a.k.a WhatsApp Business Platform) is a programmable API for medium to large businesses that don’t have a user interface, but you can build one on top of it.
WhatsApp Business App
It is an application designed specifically for solopreneurs or small businesses. It is free to use and benefits businesses that can’t afford to get too technical at an early stage. Some of its features include:
- Creating a business profile to list what the business is all about and the contact information.
- Automated greetings at the start of a conversation.
- Sending away messages when a customer tries to contact you outside business hours.
- Quick replies for frequently asked questions.
- Categorizing customer conversations using labels.
- Sending broadcast messages to multiple customers to announce new offers.
WhatsApp Business API
It is specifically designed for large businesses and enterprises capable of targeting a huge customer base with conversational marketing.
Conversational marketing is a technique that uses real-time text-based communication to engage customers and persuade them to buy products. This increases the conversion rate for businesses and improves their relationship with their customers.
Large-sized businesses require an automated solution to target hundreds and thousands of customers, which is exactly what’s provided by the API.
Here are some features of the WhatsApp Business API:
- Real-Time Automated Messaging
- Customizable message templates can be text-based, media-based, or interactive.
- Rich messaging using call to action, files, reply buttons, etc.
- Showcasing products and services using product messages.
- Integration with CRM (Customer Relationship Management) Tools
It is a paid API service, and businesses need to apply for API access. Some technical expertise is needed to use the API and send messages programmatically. That’s where API gateways come into action.
WhatsApp Business API gateways (a.k.a WhatsApp Business Solution Provider – BSP) are nothing but third-party service providers which provide access to the API and let businesses manage the API without much technical expertise. By doing so, businesses can focus more on growing their business instead of spending time configuring the API.
With that being said, let’s take a look at some WhatsApp Business API gateways.
Vonage is a cloud communication platform providing programmable communication APIs and unified communications.
Utilizing the Vonage WhatsApp Business API, businesses can send messages and notifications to their customers. Location access and AI chatbots are some of the powerful features of the Vonage WhatsApp Business API.
One of the exciting features of Vonage is the Jumper AI conversational commerce feature which lets you integrate AI into customer conversations.
- Send relevant information based on user location.
- Real-time support.
- Send timely updates to customers regarding appointments or transactions.
- API scaling and updates are handled by Vonage.
You can try the API for free in a sandbox environment provided by Vonage. However, the production use of the API is paid and includes the WhatsApp fee + Vonage platform fee.
Freshchat by Freshworks is a conversation engagement tool that combines various communication channels on a single platform letting customers use the channel of their choice.
Its WhatsApp Business integration lets businesses send notifications and build chatbots with little to no technical knowledge. It allows business teams to focus on more complex queries as the frequently asked queries are handled by chatbots.
- Collaborate with team members on a single workspace.
- Connect with CRM tools.
- Get insights based on customer experience and make better-informed decisions.
Customer insights and analysis offered by Freshchat result in better critical and informed decisions by business teams.
Sendinblue is a marketing platform helping businesses grow with digital marketing tools. It offers services such as SMS marketing, email marketing, live chat, sales CRM, targeted marketing, etc., to businesses worldwide.
Sendinblue’s WhatsApp API assists businesses in building marketing campaigns, sending personalized messages, scaling customer support using multiple devices, and connecting with potential customers.
- Send personalized messages.
- Create messages without having programming knowledge.
- Manage contacts in a CRM.
- Multi-channel marketing.
- All types of messages are supported.
- Segment WhatsApp campaigns to target a specific customer base.
It is free and offers the first 1000 messages each month at no cost. This API offers a great deal for small and medium-sized businesses.
Trengo is a customer engagement platform that combines customer communications across multiple communication channels in one place.
It makes it easy for businesses to connect with their customers across various channels, all from a single dashboard. It also lets you integrate CRM tools such as Zapier, Mailchimp, Salesforce, etc.
You can integrate the WhatsApp Business API with Trengo and get access to the features of the WhatsApp Business Platform.
- Automating workflow with auto-replies, quick replies, and rules.
- Broadcast messages in bulk.
- Integrate WhatsApp chat into your website.
- Get verified.
- Message templates.
Trengo offers a 14-day free trial, and the WhatsApp integration is included in the “scale” pricing plan.
Sinch is a customer engagement platform providing customer engagement across messaging, voice, and email channels. According to Sinch, it enables 600 billion customer engagements every year.
- Rich text communication
- Data protection
- Personalized messages
- Hassle-free integration
It has a conversation API to combine multiple social media communication channels into one single API. Apart from that, Sinch also has independent APIs for social media platforms such as Facebook Messenger, Instagram, WhatsApp, etc.
Ziper is a tool that provides access to the WhatsApp Business API and lets you use the features of the API.
- JSON API.
- Group management in WhatsApp.
- Webhook integration.
- Interactive messages – currently in the beta stage.
Ziper offers a 3-day free trial with 1000 free credits.
SentWA is a WhatsApp API gateway for entrepreneurs and developers and allows them to automate the business flow through WhatsApp.
You can integrate SentWA with your WooCommerce site and send order notifications via WhatsApp. Its REST API lets you build your application and send messages from your app.
- Chatbot builder.
- Multi-device support.
- Broadcast messages.
- Scheduled messaging.
- Webhook integration.
- WooCommerce support.
SentWA has no free plan, and you can only add one WhatsApp account to the starter plan.
Ultramsg is an API to communicate with the WhatsApp API, which allows you to send and receive messages using HTTP requests. It is a REST API supporting programming languages such as PHP, NodeJS, Java, Python, .Net, Android, etc.
You can start using the API by following three simple steps:
- Create an account
- Scan the QR code to authenticate your WhatsApp instance
- Start sending messages with the API
It is a multifunctional API that can be integrated into websites, CRM, or ERP software to send messages and notifications.
- No hidden fees.
- Unlimited messaging.
- No cost per message.
- Quick onboarding.
It offers a 3-day free trial, and the base plan starts at $39 per month or $390 per year.
WaRespond is a WhatsApp marketing tool for businesses to automate their marketing campaigns through WhatsApp and reach potential customers.
- Webhook Integration
- Bulk sending
Twilio is a customer engagement platform that uses first-party customer data to enable personalized communications. It is a data-driven platform, and when combined with the WhatsApp API, businesses can get unparalleled scale and engagement.
Twilio’s WhatsApp integration comes under its MessagingX product. There are several Twilio APIs for WhatsApp communications:
- Transactional messaging – Send one-way notifications and product updates to customers.
- Conversational messaging – Apply conversational commerce using a single API.
- Personalized communication – Target specific customers using the Twilio segment.
- Conversational Commerce.
- Delivery notifications.
- Emergency alerts.
- Appointment reminders.
- Customer relationship management.
- Digital marketplace.
Twilio offers a pay-as-you-go pricing model for the WhatsApp API. It includes the per conversation rate along with the Twilio per message rate.
While choosing a WhatsApp API gateway for your business, pick one based on your business needs and scalability. Security and compliance are also some aspects you must take care of.
The base WhatsApp API will remain the same as all API providers, but the features you get on top of it, and their integration with your workflow make the difference.
Next, check out cloud communication platforms for small businesses.